Saturday, January 4, 2014, 8:25 AM at home in Santa Clara
Yesterday, Sheila and I assembled all the pieces of our tiny house! I was able to rent a four wheel drive truck from Avis on Thursday. I had hoped to keep the truck for two days, but because it turned out to be so expensive (nearly $100 per day), I decided to try to get everything done I needed to do with the truck yesterday. So yesterday morning, we got up early and drove over to the property at about 7:00 AM to pick up our trailer, our ladder and other various tools and fasteners that were left over at the property. We then pulled the trailer and all our supplies back over the hill and made three separate stops at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Pine Cone Lumber. We were able to pick up nearly all of the materials we will need to frame our tiny house, including 6×6 Parallam posts and a 20 foot ridge beam. At about 3:00 PM, we finally dropped off our trailer at the RV parking lot for our condo complex, where we now have our very own spot. After months of planning, I feel like I can finally say that we have actually started working on our tiny house. I’m pretty excited.
I think all of my planning helped everything to go much more smoothly yesterday. It wasn’t perfect, but it was about as good as it could have been. On Thursday, I visited the Pro Desk at Home Depot to set up a pro account. In the end, building relationships with people at the Pro Desk got me nearly $200 in discounts on my $1500 order yesterday, which was great. However, working with the Pro Desk did seem to introduce a few inefficiencies. I spent nearly a week carefully putting an online order together that the Pro Desk was unfortunately unable to access online directly. Instead, they had to print my order in hardcopy and then rebuild it by hand on Thursday evening before they could start filling it yesterday morning. When I called the Pro Desk from Boulder Creek at 8:45 AM, they said they needed about an hour to get things together, but by the time we got there at 10:00 AM, they had really just gotten started. The people at Home Depot were really friendly. They collected everything we needed (I love not having to find everything myself) and eventually loaded a huge pile of two by fours and plywood into a nice even, level block on our trailer. However, we didn’t leave there until nearly 1:00 PM.
Home Depot did a lot better than Lowe’s. I have yet to place an order online with Lowe’s without encountering some kind of problem. That’s why I kept my order with Lowe’s very small and simple. I only ordered a few items that that I couldn’t find anywhere else: some polystyrene sheets that will be used for insulation in the floor. Usually, Lowe’s gets my order ready but doesn’t bother to notify me when it’s ready. Yesterday, they notified me, but didn’t bother to get my order ready. We spent nearly 45 minutes there patiently waiting for someone to collect eight sheets of polystyrene that were supposedly ready the night before.
The last stop yesterday was Pine Cone Lumber for all of the longer pieces of kiln dried wood as well as the 6×6 Parallam boards and the 20 foot MicroLam ridge beam. While we were waiting at Lowe’s, a small voice in the back of my head seemed to be telling me to call over to Pine Cone Lumber to check the status of my order. It was a good thing I did because they had somehow forgotten to tell me when I talked to them in the morning that they needed a credit card to start doing anything. We still had to wait nearly 45 minutes for my order to be collected, but I’m guessing it would have taken nearly twice that amount of time if I had not given them my credit card 45 minutes before I got there. If that had happened, I may well have had to keep my truck and extra day which would have cost me another $100.
Sheila and I are always reminding each other that you’re never really late and that relationships are more important than time. I put those philosophies to good use yesterday, trying to stay in the moment, pay attention to what I was doing, be friendly to all the people who were helping us and not worry too much about what might or might not happen in the future. Although we might have been able to optimize things a little bit, we still had time for everything we needed to do. We got the trailer parked in the RV lot by 3:00 PM (I even backed it into the spot myself on the first try!), we had the truck unloaded by 3:30 PM and I was able to return it by 4:00 PM, with 30 minutes to spare before incurring extra day’s charge. If I had planned a little bit better or done things in a different order, I might have been able to save myself 1-2 hours of time that I probably would have wasted watching TV anyway. In reality, everything worked out quite well. It was almost as if somebody was watching over us.
As I was writing this, Sheila came in to ask how I felt this morning. Physically, I’m a little bit tired. However, I am energized spiritually. Sheila agreed that she felt the same way. Both of us are very excited about getting started with our tiny house. We plan to hold our first workday next weekend which means that in just seven days, we might actually have constructed a floor and maybe even some walls!